Cattle identification and traceability: consultation

This consultation seeks views on cattle identification and traceability in Scotland. It asks questions on use of bovine electronic identification (EID), explains how this could be achieved and also asks questions on other aspects of the current cattle identification regime.

Part 1: About This Consultation

Topic of this consultation

This consultation is seeking your views on changes to cattle identification and traceability in Scotland.

The introduction of bovine electronic identification (EID) has been a longstanding industry request. EID is seen by many in the farming sector as an opportunity to modernise and improve on efficiencies whilst supporting competitiveness within the supply chain. Furthermore, EID could also be used to improve on-farm management practices as well as on-farm automation. The technology provides additional health and safety benefits in being able to read cattle at a safe distance.

As set out in the Vision for Agriculture, the Scottish Ministers recognise that the development and the introduction of new technologies will play an important role as we look to modernise the farming sector for a more sustainable future. Therefore, we have, to date, supported and funded an industry-led bovine EID pilot focusing on the potential use of ultra-high frequency (UHF) technology across Scotland. Use of low frequency (LF) EID for identification of sheep is already required.

Our current position is technology neutral. The ScotEID multi-species relational database system is also technology neutral and looks to capture data in an accurate and timely manner.

This consultation seeks views on use of bovine EID in Scotland, including whether its use should be made mandatory, and how new rules can be best introduced. This will focus on the following industry proposals:

  • to require that all new-born cattle are identified with electronic ear tags, and
  • a transition of the ‘historical herd’ to EID (the historical herd are cattle that have already been tagged under existing identification rules).

Further, we are seeking respondents’ views on a number of other wider proposals in relation to the cattle identification regime. These are in relation to the following:

  • the use of a fully online holding register for all cattle births, deaths and movements (a partial online holding register currently exists for within business movements),
  • reporting and recording timescales, and
  • the removal of paper cattle passports for EID identified animals.

Geographical extent

Policy for cattle identification is a devolved responsibility of Scottish Ministers. The proposals outlined in this consultation apply to Scotland.


Anyone may respond to this consultation. The Scottish Government would particularly like to hear from: cattle keepers, markets, abattoirs, Scottish local authorities and other industry bodies and representatives.

Body responsible for this consultation

The Scottish Government’s Animal Health and Welfare Division - Disease Prevention Team is responsible for this consultation.


This consultation starts on 4 April 2024

This consultation closes on 27 June 2024

This constitutes a full consultation period of 12 weeks.

How to make an enquiry

If you have any queries about this consultation, please contact the Scottish Government Disease Prevention Team by email at



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